By Joyce and James Skeet, NM Soil Health Champions and farmers at Covenant Pathways/Spirit Farm
Indigenous Regenerative Agriculture views soil as a living environment for microbes to multiply and flourish. In order to optimize nutrient cycling, Indigenous Regenerative Agriculture works to preserve existing carbon in the soil and find ways to put carbon back into the soil through plant growth and regenerative perspectives, practices, and amendments. Indigenous Regenerative Agriculture directs farmers to improve the soil each season, changing the depleted soil of industrial farming into carbon-rich soil.
The purpose of gaining this edge in our southwestern environment is necessary because of the delicate nature of our soil and our limited access to water. Maximizing soil productivity is not the main reason for growing produce but allowing the indigenous farmer to take into consideration from a larger context the interactions and cycles that Mother Nature has established through the ages. Industrial farming techniques have threatened the condition of the soil by compaction and runoff because of the lack of organic materials and aeration necessary for microbial life. Microbial life is the very basis for setting into motion a healthy ecosystem, which in turn stabilizes the climate.
The role of the microbes in nature and all of life is vital and required. I say required because without the microbes, there would be no life on Earth. They are the smallest life forms, and yet THE MOST IMPORTANT. In the soil, the microbes and plant roots work together. If there are no plant roots, then the microbes are unable to get all the foods and nutrients they need to survive and thrive. If there are no microbes, the plants are not able to provide the nutrients to support healthy living ecosystems. In today’s world, many of our plants do not produce healthy foods because the fertilizers have killed the microbes. These plants are laced with fertilizers and void of the nutrients to support a healthy life.
Through the various roles of microbes on Earth, we see the microbes as SUPERHEROES. And there is so much we do not even know about them and of what they are capable. In a way, they perform MAGIC all around us and in us.
- Microbes keep our bodies healthy and balanced with the nutrients they supply in all foods.
- Microbes (our microbiome) keep our guts and digestives systems balanced.
- Our septic systems depend on microbes, and yet we do not fully understand their role because we still use Clorox and antibacterial cleansers, killing the microbes.
- Microbes clean up toxic wastes.
- Microbes clean up uranium in 6 to 12 months. After decades of research, scientists are still struggling to accomplish uranium cleanup.
- Microbes restore balance to the environment.
Microbes play a vital role in reversing global warming. Climate solutions can only be implemented when we change our lens from an industrial, exploitive approach into a bio-system approach. Indigenous people have found the bio-system to be the very foundation for climactic stability through the continuity of patterns in touch with nature, called indigenous cosmology or native science (Bio-Cosmology).